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Tieghan Gerard, the Colorado-based author behind the Half Baked Harvest website and cookbook, says she started preparing meals for her family when she was an annoyed-but-industrious 15-year-old who couldn't understand why it took her dad so long to fix dinner. (The fact that he was cooking for nine might've had something to do with it, but try rationalizing with a determined teen.)
Ever since, she's focused on creative comfort food — but with the kind of recipes that don't require a ton of prep work. This veggie-heavy pasta salad is no exception. Gerard describes it as "summer in a bowl," and it's so simple to put together that you'll still have time after dinner to enjoy one of these last few summer evenings. (Yes, even if you have a family of nine.)
There's a lot to love about this salad, from its focus on fresh ingredients (cherry tomatoes, sweet corn, basil leaves, and that avocado that deserves to become something better than toast) and the fact that there's nothing to cook except the pasta. After you've drained it, you can toss the corn in with the hot pasta, and then add the herbs and some cubed cheddar cheese — which should melt between the time it goes from the serving bowl onto the table.
"If you're going to eat salad today, why not make it the pasta-filled kind, you know?" Gerard says, and we're nodding our heads in total agreement. The total time for this pasta-filled recipe is around 25 minutes, and it serves between six and eight. If you do have a family of nine, then the last person to the table better hope there's another avocado left. Somebody's getting toast.
→ Get the Recipe: Corn, Tomato, and Avocado Pasta Salad from Half Baked Harvest